Dowry case: Bail granted to Rajashree

Balasore: The District and Sessions Court here on Friday granted conditional bail to ex-minister Raghunath Mohanty’s son Rajashree against whom his wife Barsha Sony Choudhury had lodged a complaint at Balasore Town police station on March 14 alleging domestic abuse and dowry torture.

The court also asked Rajashree not to leave Odisha without its prior permission.

On March 17 Rajashree was arrested by officials of Human Rights Protection Cell (HRPC) from Choudwar near Cuttack two days after his wife Barsha Sony Choudhury lodged a complaint at the Balasore Town police station against him and four other family members including ex-minister Raghunth Mohanty.

The former minister’s son was lodged in Balasore jail since March 18 after his bail petitions were twice rejected by the SDJM court and once by the district judge court.

On Thursday the Balasore District and Sessions court deferred Rajashree’s bail hearing till next day after his lawyer filed a time petition. The lawyer sought time to furnish documents relating to the bail petition in High Court.

“After his bail plea was rejected by the District and Sessions court on March 21, Rajashree had moved High Court for the same and the petition is still pending with the HC. As per the rule a petitioner can’t apply for his bail before the district court if a similar petition is pending with the higher court. Though his lawyer claimed that they had withdrawn the petition from the HC, the district judge wanted relevant document to corroborate their claim,” Barsa’s counsel Amar Ballav Nanda said.

Earlier, on March 30 Rajashree’s second bail application was rejected by the SDJM and his remand period in the judicial custody was extended to further 14 days by the court.

Raghunath and his wife Pritilata, who were arrested from Shalimar area of Kolkata on March 30, have been released on conditional bail on Tuesday. But two other accused – Mohanty's daughter Rupashree and son-in-law Suvendu Madhual are still at large.

While Mohanty had resigned as the Urban Development minister, he was removed as vice-president from the ruling BJD following dowry charges.

Meanwhile the state government has suspended Pritilata Mohanty from the post of secretary, Regulatory Marketing Committee (RMC), Jaleswar in Balasore district after she was jailed in a dowry torture case.

Two days back the HRPC officials seized dowry articles from Mohanty’s residence at Amarda Road. While Barsa’s father Kishore Kumar Choudhury was present along with the HRPC team during the seizure of the dowry items, Raghunath refused to comment citing that the matter was sub-judice.